The Vatican is planning to summon members of a Belgian nursing order to Rome to explain why they are refusing to drop a policy which allows doctors to euthanise psychiatric patients in Church-run homes.

Senior Vatican officials want to hear in person why board members of the Organisation of the Brothers of Charity insist on allowing the euthanasia of non-terminally ill patients despite being ordered to reverse the policy. The order had the backing of Pope Francis.

Two weeks ago, the organisation publicly rejected the Vatican’s ultimatum with one board member, Herman van Rompuy, a former president of the European Council, proclaiming on Twitter that “the time of Roma locuta, causa finita is long past”.

Brother René Stockman, the superior general of the Brothers of Charity who, unlike the board, opposes euthanasia, told the Catholic Herald that the Vatican’s invitation was the organisation’s last chance to conform to the Church’s demands.

He said the Organisation of the Brothers of Charity, the group which runs the hospitals, “shall be invited by the Vatican to come and explain the taken decision, after which a final decision shall be taken,” he said.

“With this is given to the Organisation of the Brothers of Charity in Belgium an ultimate chance to set themselves in line with the doctrine of the Catholic Church.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection